Thursday, January 5, 2012

New and Old

I'm warning you ahead of time, this may be a messy post with lots of things thrown in. After writing it all down however, I may edit as necessary.  Do you write your posts ahead of time?  I tried and can't. I change it all when I sit down to type!  I guess I'm a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of girl!  I digress... (and it won't be the first time)...

Where to start? about let's start with how my goals for 2012 are doing.  I'm only going to talk about a few...

1. Make at least one new recipe a week.  I made a new (old) recipe this week.  It's a Ratatouille Polenta Bake.  You can get the full recipe here.  I'll just list the ingredients and mention the changes I made this time around (not planned changes).

Ratatouille Polenta Bake

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1 small unpeeled eggplant, (1 pound), diced (2 cups)
1 medium zucchini, diced (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 tube (16 ounces) refrigerated plain polenta (or any flavor)
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Basically you put the polenta on the bottom.  They tell you to use the polenta rounds.  This time around, the 2 grocery stores I had gone to for my normal groceries didn't have the polenta rounds.  I bought cornmeal and just made the polenta myself.  Then I just poured it into the bottom of the baking dish.  I liked this better except making the polenta is not as quick and easy as buying it.  Whatever, I save a few bucks and also some gas for not traveling to another store.  Then I let the polenta set in the fridge while I went to the gym.  This way it would harden.

The other change I made was...well, I couldn't find the eggplant I bought!  I just bought it earlier that day!  I remember putting it in the bag with the bananas!  Checked my car, not there. checked the bags again, not there.  Checked the fridge again, not there!  Luckily I had some baby bella mushrooms in the fridge and decided to use those in place of the eggplant.  Is a ratatouille still ratatouille without eggplant?? 

The other change I made was not using Parmesan cheese.  I didn't have any, didn't want to buy any...just didn't care about it.  So I made up for it by increasing the amount of mozzarella to 1 full overflowing cup!  :)  Everything is better with cheese!  Oh and actually I didn't use mozzarella either!  I forgot the exact name of the cheese but it was mexican related.  They didn't have the mozzarella cheese in a small bag and I was not buying a big one!  I don't trust myself around delicious cheese!! Mmmmmm!!!!

Anyway, here is a photo of my completed dish!

Ratatouille Polenta Bake
Seriously, could that look any more delicious!  And it's really good and healthy!  Since I live alone, I get all the leftovers too!

Still wondering what I did with that eggplant?  I know you are!  I thought maybe I just really forgot to put it in the bag with the bananas.  The next morning as I was walking to my car, I was wondering what this mess on my driveway was, until it dawned on me...

Eggplant anyone?
It's my missing eggplant!  What happened was I must have dropped it when bringing in the groceries.  Then I went back out to the gym.  I actually remember that when I backed out, it seemed as though I rolled over something but didn't see anything in my driveway (and frankly didn't care).  Apparently I backed out and rolled over my eggplant!  I'm glad that mystery is solved!  Not that I lost sleep over it or anything!

2. (We were talking about my goals, remember?)...Stretching.  I'm doing  much better in the stretching department.  I am not a stretcher!  That's bad, I know!  I've never been much of a stretcher.  But when I went to the doctor in December and he basically threatened to shoot me (it's true, he did!) because I had the worst flexibility in my hips he has ever seen in his 28 year medical career (including himself), I realized I should take stretching more seriously.  He also said I had an incredibly tight IT band, and with a small previous IT band issue, figured that stretching will only help that issue too.  I have been trying to get in the full amount of stretching the doctor prescribed (I'm close to getting it all in), I have also been more conscience of stretching on my own too, especially after a workout or run.  I actually will take the time to go up to the front of the gym (more on this in a minute) and sit down and stretch for a little bit.  I'm hoping when I go back to the doctor, he notices a difference.  I'm not sure if I do but I thought I was ok before!

Let me just say, the gym I go to, the floor area where we can do abs or stretch or whatever, is all the way in the front.  This gym was newly built a few months ago.  Why would they put this area up front?  So that all the people walking up to the gym can stare at you (I do it too, so I know everyone else does it).  Maybe it's so that the people at the front desk can just stare and laugh at you (you know they do!).  Whatever it is, it's kind of an awkward place for it!  Why would they build the gym like that??  Again...I digress...  At least I'm taking some time to stretch.  I think there is still room for improvement but something is better than almost nothing!

3.  (Remember...goals)  No pop.  I have not been drinking any pop since the first of the year.  It's going well except there are a few times (like around lunch) when I would have grabbed a pop from the fridge at work (it's free).  Old habits are hard to break. 

4. 6 glasses minimum of water per day.  Why am I still struggling with this?  I am getting the 6 in but it's still hard.  At 10:30 pm, I might have remembered that I only drank 4 glasses that day and chug down 2 full glasses right before bed!  Not the way I want to do it.  Baby steps...

I guess the only other thing that I am going to talk about here is running (surprise, surprise!).  I'm almost finished with week 2 of my second marathon training.  It's going well.  There are some slight knee issues but nothing major.  I think I'm just afraid of hurting myself so I try to be extra careful and sometimes when you are too careful, you overcompensate and other things become injured!  Trying not to let that happen!

Because I'm trying to be extra careful, I'm not going faster.  I feel slow!  I want to get better and maybe improve some of my race times.  I also feel that I'm short of breathe right now when I run too!  I don't know why as I work out all the time!  I feel like it shouldn't be that hard!  Granted I've been doing more treadmill runs lately since I've been a little on the sick side and treadmill running is actually harder for me.  I think it's something about running in place with the same scene that I don't like!  When I'm distracted, I run better! 

I decided I needed to do something about it.  On Monday, I was pretty sick (just a cold but sick nonetheless).  My personal trainer had cancelled on me and my running group was going running!  The temps were cold and windy (20 for a high and really windy).  I really wanted to go to this group run but felt that I would be best staying inside and running on the treadmill so as not to make my cold worse.

I know I've been running at a 10 min mile pace.  That was my marathon training pace.  I'm not happy to be running 3 miles at that pace.  On Monday, I tried very conservative intervals just to get a feel for it. I know people do speed training, frankly I'm an idiot when it comes to that.  I don't really know what to do.  Monday I did 5 intervals of 400 meters at 10:00 and 9:13.  I felt like my breathing was heavy.  But my knees actually felt better at the faster pace than the slower pace.  Weird! 

My 3 miles ended up being a 9:43 pace.  I still wasn't happy with that because I felt my lungs couldn't handle it! 

So yesterday I decided to try it again.  A little faster but still conservative.  I started with a 10:00 warm up of 400 m, then started an interval of 400 m at 9:13 and 9:40 (instead of 10:00).  After one round of those intervals, I felt that it was a little too easy and I wanted to just push myself a little more.  I did the next intervals (I don't remember how many) 400 m at 9:05 and 9:40.  I did this until the end when I still felt pretty good (breathing was better than Monday) and decided to do my last 400 m at 8:49 pace. 
My 3 miles ended up being a 9:26 pace.  Felt much better about that.  Would like to move consistently into the 8:00's but one step at a time.  Actually, I'm extra happy about this run as I did it after my personal training session where we worked on legs.

One thing about getting faster is you have to have the endurance to do it.  Since my lungs were giving me problems (could have something to do with the cold I'm fighting), I was unsure if I had the endurance to do it.  The other thing is mental.  For me, I don't want to injure myself.  I have knee issues and I'm extra protective of them!  I've always joked and said "I'm going to run until I can't run anymore!"  That's true but I'd rather the "can't run anymore" to be later in life rather than sooner. 

Pressing on!  I have a 7 mile long run Saturday.  I know I can do 7 miles.  The problem, I'm running with my old running group (my marathon training group).  That's not really the problem!  I'm excited to be running with them.  They created their own marathon training running for the winter to prepare for the Illinois Marathon that a lot of us are doing in April.  It's awesome to think I will still have people to run my long runs with!  My problem is that a lot of them are faster than me...the other problem is the location we are running in is in Palos and it's a hilly neighborhood!  I do NOT do so well with hills!  Probably good to train on them but I feel as though I won't be able to keep up with the group!  I guess I will do as good as I have to and if I have to slow down, I will.

Until next time...


  1. I remember you sent me that recipe well over a year ago!! I have to try it; it looks delicious!!

    Good luck with your long run this Sat. Take it easy!!!

  2. The trick to drinking more water is to always have it within reach. We have a water/ice dispenser at work, and I'm constantly refilling a travel mug with iced water all day long. I should start tallying how often I refill it. I have one of those metal water bottles at home, and I also horde empty water bottles and refill those. It's gotten to the point that almost anytime I leave the house, I have water with me. Right now I actually have three bottles of water in my car. I leave them there because I know I'll drink them, either when I'm driving or the next time I go to the gym. My husband teases me that I'm like that girl from the movie Signs who kept leaving glasses of water everywhere.

  3. Maggie, I used to be the same way! I still have water at my desk all day but don't reach for it! It's weird!

    Marisa - I know, I remember! It's good, you should try it!

  4. Nice job on the goals so far! Great job on the treadmill speedwork! I find treadmill running harder as well. As for the Saturday run, just do your best and that is all that matters and most importantly...have fun!!

  5. That's too bad about the eggplant! That dish looks delicious though. You're doing great this year. I can't wait to see what you accomplish!

  6. Haha, the mystery of the eggplant has been solved! I remember being on the phone with you while you were searching for it. I want to be filled in on all the details from running with Yankee, obvi! :)